WIndows 11 stops recognizing monitors as audio output devices when idle

Brass Contributor

For some reason, Windows 11 stops recognizing my two external monitors as audio output devices when I leave my desktop idle. I also have headphones plugged in and they will become the only output audio option even if the audio was set to one of the monitors before.


My power options have my desktop set to never sleep but it will turn the display off after 15 minutes. Half of the time I start using my computer after the monitors turn off this issue happens. To fix this I have to start troubleshooting output devices and then windows will suddenly recognize them again and everything goes back to normal. It's been getting annoying to have to go into settings every time I want to hear audio after leaving my computer. 



19 Replies
1. Check if the cable has any problem. Use another cable to and see if the problem resolves.

2. Check if the output port works fine. If your PC has multiple HDMI output ports, try different ports and see if the problem resolves.

3. Check if the monitor works properly. Make sure the monitor’s speaker volume is not turned down or muted. Then try connecting the monitor to another PC.

Hope this helps,
J Wick
I tried using different cables and changing the ports, but it didn't fix it. Also, I think you misunderstand the problem. The monitors work perfectly and as expected from when I turn on the computer and continue to do so as long as I actively use them.

The issue starts after my computer goes idle and turns the monitors off automatically. Half the time I start using my computer the monitors turn on but they aren't recognized as output audio devices in windows until I start the troubleshooter. Once I start troubleshooting windows immediately recognizes them and then I can continue to use them as normal. The monitors are different brands and one uses HDMI and the other DisplayPort so It seems most likely that this is a software issue in Windows rather than a hardware one on my end.

Thank you though!
I have this same problem, initially thought it was my BenQ monitor issue. Bought a Lenovo with integrated speakers recently, behaves the same. I also used the new cables that come with the new monitor, different HDMI port. Very weird issue. For now I got a small bat script I run when this happens:

net stop audiosrv
net stop AudioEndpointBuilder
net start audiosrv
net start AudioEndpointBuilder

Might put these 4 lines in a hook when screen wakes up.
I have the same issue with an Alienware and Dell U3818DW, and it started after upgrading to Windows 11.
sanjunipero's solution is working for me so far.
Microsoft should fix this, you have the solution right here.
Same issue on 22621.819.

Using Roku TV as monitor. When the computer idles, it loses the option to output audio to either TV I have connected (the other being a sony bravia). Putting the computer to sleep, then waking it up, seems to resolve.

Nothing better than getting excited to sit down and watch a video or listen to a new song, and your audio doesn't work. A sleep and a reset later, you can listen. Really breaks the flow, and is a statement to microsoft products as a whole. Bug after bug after bug
Same issue here. Started right after Windows 11 update. Windows wont detect my Asus monitor as an audio device anymore, which is really a pain dealing with 2 computers on the same monitor. I dont want to change my audio jack everytime I swap between cpus.
sanjunipero's solution doesn't work, it gives me an "access denied"... Dont know why.

Same issue with Windows 11, although I was already on Windows 11 before I got rid of my speakers and went to the TV (monitor) speakers, so I don't know if it was (would have been) an issue in Windows 10. I also note that, while the TV is turned off with no activity, Windows 11 will not turn my TV back on when coming out of sleep. I have to use the power button on my remote. I think this is a problem with my TV (Samsung UN40JU6700).


I only see the problem maybe 1 out of 20 times coming out of sleep, however. But there is no rhyme or reason to when it happens - just appears to be random. To date I just end up resetting my computer (since it happens infrequently). I would very much like to see Microsoft fix this issue. 



Have same problem Here with a Dell Latitude 7424 rugged extreme. If i dont use the laptop for a moment or i close the screen and pass on battery, many time i See the audio icon become with the Red cross like no audio driver and rechange to normal icon but audio is go away. Also somes drivers Make sound of the speaker so Low that you can est anything proprely. Never have ans problems on Win10. (Note also Firefox on win11 crash 1/2 time at launch If you have session restore) 

I have a similar case, but not on the audio. HDMI stop sending video content. Dell + Windows 11, after idle time.
Same issue and recycling the audio services doesn't fix it. I have to restart in order for my monitor speakers to reappear. The monitor is connected via DisplayPort, which I suspect could be related.

I'm also getting the access denied :\ So I figured try run it as admin and it worked, still no audio on my monitor though even though it's working fine through surround sound

I've tried all of the suggestions above including restarting audiosrv/AudioEndpointBuilder services, power cycling the TV, running Windows audio troubleshooter... nothing worked. No pending Windows updates, no driver updates available. I knew rebooting the PC always fixes the issue, but it's obnoxious as hell doing that every time Windows stops detecting an audio device, which seems to be constantly these days...

Well, turns out putting the PC to sleep and waking it back up seems to work just as well, no need to close down programs or save your work.

This issue is still a major problem for Windows 11 for the latest update as of 27 April 2023. I have a Dell monitor with Windows 11. I will have audio when I delete and reinstall the driver, but every single time the desktop sleeps or restarts, the audio no longer connects with the monitor, but the video is fine. I'm surprised and incredibly disappointed that this issue was raised close to a year ago and there isn't a SEV-2 or at least a SEV-3 for the team involved.
I solved my issue just updating Nvidia graphic drivers (including nvidia audio drivers). I figured out that all my monitors were conected to the graphic card so there is the problem for me. Now its working



I just changed the driver from Nvidia's one to Microsoft High Defination Audio Device driver and it started working. 

I am testing a program that for each iteration uses a unique output device (SPEAKERS / HDMI 1 / HDMI 2 / S/PDIF digital). I was experiencing the same issue with the sessions that use the HDMI monitors as sound output devices. I would kick off the test and go to bed, being awakened 30 minutes later when both of these sessions would be blasting full blast from my sound bar. and the only way to stop it was to set the output device for each of those sessions to S/PDIF or something else. I would check and the output device would be set to Default (Speakers). It finally dawned on me this morning, that when the system puts the displays to sleep, Windows decides that HDMI output device are not available and switches to Default output for those sessions.

The fix is to tell Windows to Never put your displays to sleep and use a screen saver with it set to 'blank screen'. It doesn't save power, but prevents burn-in. Yes, LCD and LED screens can have burn-in. Fortunately, it sort of self heals on my ASUS displays when something else is shown for a while, or when I shut them down. Hope this helps you.

Does anyone know how to set the audio output device for my app (not the default audio device) from Visual C++ rather than the Windows Sound Settings?

Using IMM... .. PolicyConfig->SetDefaultDendpoint().

I got that working, but it sets the default output device instead of the one for just this session.

@Nathcarbo If you use the search bar and search for command prompt, right click and select run as can then run the code

As a short term fix I used "Scan for hardware changes" against Audio inputs and outputs from device manager. It found and re-added my LG HDR 4K (Intel(R) Display Audio).

It's less hassle than a reboot, but I'm not sure it won't disappear again after a sleep.